Who to tip and how much
This guide offers a go-by of traditionally accepted tipping standards, but you should feel free to vary your tipping if exceptional service is provided!
- Luggage porters (airport, train): $1-$2 per bag. If the bags are quite heavy, numerous or the porter carries them for you, then $2 per bag is the minimum tip.
- Hotel staff (bellhops, doormen): $1 per bag.
- Hotel concierge: $5-$10 per service (more for exceptional service, such as obtaining hard-to-get tickets or restaurant reservations). No tip is required if you simply ask for directions or hotel information.
- Hotel maid: $2-$5 per night.
- Drivers (taxi, shuttles, car service): 15% of the total fare.
- Food (in-restaurant, take-out, delivery): 15%-20% of the total bill with a $2 minimum (depending on the complexity of the order).
- Parking (valets): $1-$3 unless there’s a set price per vehicle stated.
- Coatroom staff: $1 per coat.
- Washroom attendant: $.50-$1 per visit.
- Salon staff (hair, nails, wax, massage, tattoo artists): 10%-20% of the service fee. The more complex the service, the closer you should get to the 20% mark.
- Salon support staff (hair washer, shaver): $1-$2.
- Car detailing: $1-$3 per vehicle (more for challenging or especially dirty vehicles).
- Pet groomers (dogs, cats): 15% of the total fee.
- Movers: no tip required; can tip for exceptional service if you wish.
- Towers and emergency vehicle responders: no tip required per AAA.
- Delivery personnel (furniture, appliances, flowers, gifts): no tip required; can tip for exceptional service or special occasions (for instance, some people like to tip delivery personnel who bring them flowers).
- Coffee bar baristas and bartenders: $1-$2 per drink.
- Shoeshine attendants: $1-$2 per pair of shoes.
- In-home maid service: no tip required; holiday tipping is always appreciated.
How to calculate percentage-based tips
It’s easy to memorize tipping standards when it’s just a dollar here or five dollars there. But what about when the tipping standard is a percentage of ever-varying items? For these cases, this handy formula has often helped me—I hope it helps you too!
- First, check your bill to be sure gratuity (tip) is not already included in the total price.
- Next, note the total price of your bill AFTER tax.
- Say the total bill price is $20 (just to make the math easy). Tipping standards indicate a 10% tip as the expected minimum for nearly all percentage-based services.
- First, calculate 10% of $20.00, which is $2.00.
- If you want to tip 15%, add half of that $2.00 to your tip so now your tip is $3.00.
- If you want to tip 20%, double the $2.00 so your total tip is now $4.00.
- For more complicated bills, the same formula works if you just move the decimal point one place to the left. Here, let's say your bill is $28.35.
- So a 10% tip would be $2.84. 15% would be another $1.42, making a 15% tip $4.26. A 20% tip would come out to be $5.68.
NOTE: Be aware the following tipping guidelines only apply to service personnel working in the U.S.A.. Read this great KCL post for a guide to save money on tipping while traveling internationally.